Derek Vincent Smith, or as you probably know him “Pretty Lights,” has held an impressive career. Active since 2006, he has created a unique stage persona with genre-crossing beats, much of which are based on vinyl samples. Oh, and the eponymous pretty lights. We were able to sit down with him at Governor’s Ball and talk about his upcoming new album, various aspects of his past work, and even Daft Punk’s self-centeredness.
Danny Vega: We’re excited for A Color Map Of The Sun [his new album]. What made you want to make an album with modular synths and your own studio recordings?
Pretty Lights: Well I made 7 or 8 albums up to that point that were an evolving style of sample collaging, and the reason I sampled was because I craved the timbre from past generations. I always knew that there was so much that went into that [sound]. You can’t just plug a guitar into a computer and have it sound like an early 70’s Grover Washington Jr. record– so much goes into the timbre of vinyl sampling and that is an integral part of my style.
So, after I finished my last three EPs, which I did in one year, I was trying to think of something that would be a massive challenge for myself and just a really cool project. I wanted to also prove to myself I could do it. It seemed like the ultimate dream of a sample producer. It was terrifying, but I got better working with modular synths every day through out the process. It was just a dream that I wanted to live out, and it worked out. I’m really stoked on it.
Overall, it was a real pleasure meeting with Pretty Lights. We were blown away at the quality and thought behind his responses. We can’t wait for the release of Color Map of the Sun on July 2nd. You’ll be able to get it for free at his website. And you can count on us reviewing the album as well.